Greetings! I pray that you are well! Today I am thrilled to introduce you to Mike Wetzel, the newest member of our team. When Dr. Mike Wetzel was a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, his car was stolen. But even through that difficult situation, Mike experienced God’s provision—and learned a lesson that has stayed with him all these years later.
I was working full-time as a security officer off-campus when the car was stolen. And one of the leaders in the company called me into his office and asked if I had enough money to pay my tuition. When I said that I didn’t, he pulled out his checkbook and wrote the check on the spot. That’s when he told me, “I don’t want you to pay it back to me. I want you to make a difference and pay it forward when you can.”
And Mike has been paying it forward ever since. He has spent his life making a difference in the lives of the people who have crossed his path, most recently during a 27-year tenure as pastor of The Island Chapel in Tierra Verde, Florida. He’s also faithfully served NOBTS as a member of our Foundation Board, as well as campus director of our Tampa extension center and one of our prison centers.
But recently Mike has agreed to a new adventure with the seminary: Vice President for Institutional Advancement. And while I’m thrilled that he has joined our team, I’m even more excited that Mike wasn’t responding to my call to New Orleans. First and foremost, he was answering God’s call.
I can’t tell you how many times, my wife and I have prayed about opportunities to leave. And every time, God said “no.” By this point, we thought we would retire in a few years from The Island Chapel. But when Dr. Dew called about NOBTS, God didn’t say “no.” He didn’t say “yes” immediately either. He simply led us on a process that showed us which direction to take. We had no desire to leave. Things at the church were great. But God said, “Go!”
As Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Mike will be building relationships with folks just like you. He will be sharing the story of NOBTS and Leavell College and reminding alumni and donors how their investments allow our faculty and students to continue sharing the love of Jesus in New Orleans and around the world.
I am excited about helping people understand how they can become a partner with what God is doing through NOBTS—how they can be a part of something bigger than themselves. One of the things I always told my church was that seminary education provides the best bang for the buck. They can invest in the seminary, which in turn trains the future leaders who will make a difference for the kingdom.
It’s my prayer that in 2020 you will join Mike and the rest of the NOBTS family in helping us prepare servants to walk with Christ, proclaim His truth, and fulfill His mission. One great way to do this is through a recurring gift to the Providence Fund. Every dollar given to the Providence Fund goes directly to meet the needs of our students and faculty. It’s a powerful way to invest in our institution and in the work of the kingdom, and as we set forth towards a new day at NOBTS and Leavell College, we need your support now more than ever before!
Thank you in advance for your support of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College. We appreciate it more than we could ever express.
We hope that you will come visit us soon so you can see God’s work here firsthand. Until then, we pray that you’ll experience God’s richest blessings in 2020.
Dr. Jamie Dew
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College
P.S. — Please consider making a single or recurring monthly gift to Providence Fund. And if you would like to give that gift “in honor” or “in memory” of someone who has made an impact on your life, we can help with that. Simply contact Nancy by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 504-282-4455 ext. 3252.
Give online at nobts.edu/donate